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Mueller eyes growth in construction

Keywords: Tags  Mueller Industries, Greg Christopher, copper, aluminum, housing, construction, Suzy Waite

NEW YORK — Copper, aluminum and plastics manufacturer Mueller Industries Inc. says that it is poised to profit from anticipated improvement in the housing and construction sectors this year.

“For the first time since mid-2008, housing starts rose to a 1.04-million seasonally adjusted rate in March,” chief executive officer Greg Christopher said in an April 23 earnings statement. “Historically, the commercial and industrial segments of the construction industry have, with some lag in time, followed the improvement in the housing segment. We believe that as the year progresses, we will benefit from the increasing vigor in these markets.”

The Memphis, Tenn.-based company reported first-quarter net income of $26.2 million compared with $32.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

First-quarter net sales totaled $559.7 million compared with $577.7 million in the year-ago quarter. The company attributed the 3-percent decline to lower copper prices and slightly lower unit volume in its original equipment manufacturers segment.

Copper prices averaged $3.60 per pound in the first quarter of 2013 compared with $3.78 per pound in the first quarter of 2012, Mueller said.

Mueller produces copper tube and fittings; brass and copper alloy rod, bar and shapes; aluminum and brass forgings; aluminum and copper extrusions; plastic fittings and valves; refrigeration valves and fittings; and fabricated tubular products.

The company’s fortunes are closely linked to new-home construction, the improvement and reconditioning of existing homes, and commercial construction, including the building of offices, factories, hotels and hospitals.

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